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Philemon Dickerson (January 11, 1788 – December 10, 1862) was a United States Representative from New Jersey, the 12th Governor of New Jersey and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Philemon Dickerson
Philemon Dickerson (New Jersey governor and judge).jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
In office
March 2, 1841 – December 10, 1862
Appointed byMartin Van Buren
Preceded byMahlon Dickerson
Succeeded byRichard Stockton Field
12th Governor of New Jersey
In office
November 3, 1836 – October 27, 1837
Preceded byPeter Dumont Vroom
Succeeded byWilliam Pennington
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1833 – November 3, 1836
Preceded bySilas Condit
Succeeded byWilliam Chetwood
In office
March 4, 1839 – March 3, 1841
Preceded byJohn Bancker Aycrigg
Succeeded byJohn Bancker Aycrigg
Personal details
Philemon Dickerson

(1788-01-11)January 11, 1788
Succasunna, New Jersey
DiedDecember 10, 1862(1862-12-10) (aged 74)
Paterson, New Jersey
Resting placeCedar Lawn Cemetery
Paterson, New Jersey
Political partyDemocratic
RelativesMahlon Dickerson (brother)
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania (A.B.)

Education and careerEdit

Born on January 11, 1788,[Note 1] in Succasunna, Morris County, New Jersey,[1] Dickerson pursued classical studies, received an Artium Baccalaureus degree in 1808 from the University of Pennsylvania and read law in 1813.[1] He was admitted to the bar and entered private practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1813 to 1816.[1] He continued private practice in Paterson, New Jersey from 1816 to 1821, and from 1822 to 1833,[1] having been admitted as a counselor in 1817.[2] He was a member of the New Jersey General Assembly from Essex County, from 1821 to 1822.[1]

Congressional and gubernatorial serviceEdit

Dickerson was elected as a Jacksonian Democrat from New Jersey's at-large congressional district to the United States House of Representatives of the 23rd and 24th United States Congresses and served from March 4, 1833, until November 3, 1836, when he resigned, having been chosen as the 12th Governor of New Jersey by the New Jersey Legislature.[2] He served as Governor and ex officio Chancellor from November 3, 1836, to October 27, 1837.[2] He was appointed sergeant at law in 1834, being the last person in New Jersey to hold that title.[2] He resumed private practice in Paterson from 1837 to 1839.[1] He was elected as a Democrat to the 26th United States Congress, serving from March 4, 1839, to March 3, 1841.[2] He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the 27th United States Congress.[2]

Federal judicial serviceEdit

Dickerson was nominated by President Martin Van Buren on February 22, 1841, to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey vacated by Judge Mahlon Dickerson.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 27, 1841, and received his commission on March 2, 1841.[1] His service terminated on December 10, 1862, due to his death in Paterson.[1] He was interred in Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Paterson.[2]

Other serviceEdit

Concurrent with his federal judicial service, Dickerson was President of the city council of Paterson in 1851.[2]


Dickerson was the brother of Mahlon Dickerson, a United States Senator from New Jersey and Dickerson's predecessor on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.[2]


  1. ^ Dickerson's gravestone and some other sources give his birth June 26, 1788. However, both FJC Bio and CongBio, as well as other sources give his date as January 11, 1788, which date will be used in this article.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Philemon Dickerson at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i United States Congress. "Philemon Dickerson (id: D000309)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.